Posted by Steve Lettau on Apr 11, 2023

By Wen Huang

Ronald Kasule caught polio when he was 3 years old. The disease left him paralyzed. Seeing that the boy could neither walk nor feed himself, his father intended to end his son’s life before he became a burden to the family. “My parents had fierce arguments over me,” he recalls. “In the end, my mother prevailed. She made the tough decision of divorcing my father to save my life.”

The family lived in Kisubi, a village about 60 miles southwest of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. His mother sold practically everything the family owned to search for a cure. When treatment failed, she came up with many creative ways to train her son at home so he could live independently. But when Kasule reached school age, he had no means of attending the distant school. One day, he pleaded with his mother until she relented and allowed him to go.

“With a book in my hand, I went with my siblings,” Kasule says. “But they ran very fast, and I could only crawl slowly on a gravel road. Before long, a rain came down. I had to turn around and go home. The rain had damaged my book. From then on, I voluntarily gave up the idea of schooling.”